Thursday, March 30, 2006

March, 2006 (4)

I went to work at the Margaret Green Foundation Trust in Church Knowle, Dorset for the day. All the staff and the volunteers at the Trust are really nice people and some of them had come in on their day off to do the training and to see me work with the horses. The Trust does it's best to re-home their horses and wants to put them in the best position to settle in with someone new. I worked with ponies called Flame, Squirrel, Velvet, Belle and a big Bulgarian donkey called Maisie. All of these animals have difficult stories and yet their capacity to forgive is remarkable. Because of the way that they have been treated in the past, many of them have had to be "the leader" when a human is around and some of them have learnt to barge through people and move them around. With a little groundwork it was great to see them accepting their human leader and being able to relax for the first time in a long time. At the end of the day I worked with a little black Shetland pony that had been kept in a tiny pen for 8 months so that children could pet it. The Trust is doing its best to rebuild the pony's confidence and physical health. Alistair, the Trust manager and Amanda, the Stable Manager are very enlightened and want to do all their rehabilitation work without recourse to violence in any form; these ponies have been through enough.
The last week in March was filled with emergency cases - a 15 month old Dartmoor colt, an exquisite miniature version of the Lloyd's Bank horse, that was too wild to handle and an Appaloosa cross who launches himself at people to bite them. On the last day of March, Patty, Nikki and I took advantage of our free ticket into Somerley Park horse trials and had a lovely day watching fit and beautiful horses jumping solid and daunting cross-country fences. At lunchtime we managed to sit at the same table as Bettina Hoy - Patty started to talk to her in German and then Bettina was asking us about the type of work we do and how the New Forest works. Her first competition pony was a New Forest pony. This tiny lady was so warm and friendly and genuinely interested in what we do. I told her all about the biting horse and she wanted to know the outcome. It really made our day, week and month.
I am looking forward to a new ponies arriving on 1st April and then two more on the 8th. All three have already been started but for one reason or another two of them have had a break for a while and the third one is just lacking in confidence. I shall really enjoy comparing and contrasting. One is a Hackney Cross, another Welsh Cob cross and the other a New Forest Pony. The little Dartmoor pony, Ollie is also coming in for handling. He is so delicious.......